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Full text of "Historic Furnishings Report: Kettle Falls Hotel--Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota"

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Clemson University 



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DEC 2 1988 



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OWNED AND OPERATED BY R. S. WILLIAMS 



Historic Furnishings Report 

VOYAGEURS 

KETTLE FALLS HOTEL 

National Park / Minnesota 




APPROVED: 

Don Castleberry February 18, 1988 

Regional Director, Midwest Region 



HISTORIC FURNISHINGS REPORT 



KETTLE FALLS HOTEL 
VOYAGEURS NATIONAL PARK 
International Falls, Minnesota 



by 
David H. Wallace 



Harpers Ferry Center 
National Park Service 
U.S. Department of the Interior 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 



http://archive.org/details/historicfurnishiOOkfalls 



CONTENTS 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS /v 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS /vii 

ADMINISTRATIVE DATA /l 
Prior Planning Documents /l 



HISTORICAL DATA /3 
Introduction /3 

Analysis of Historic Occupancy /4 
Chronology of Ownership /4 
Chronology of Structural Development /4 
Owners and Occupants of the Kettle Falls Hotel, 1910-1977 /7 

Ed Rose II 

Bob and Lil Williams /8 

Charlie and Blanche Williams /10 

National Park Service /12 
Evidence of Room Use and Furnishings, 1910-1986 /13 
Porch (101, West Porch; 104, East Porch) /13 
Lobby (102) /18 
Dining Room (103) /23 
Kitchen/Laundry Wing (Rooms 105-110) /29 

Kitchen /29 

Pantry (106) /34 

Telephone Room (107) /34 

Auxiliary Kitchen (108) /34 

Laundry (110) /35 
Barroom (118) /36 



m 



Second Floor /42 

Stairs and Upstairs Hall (200, 201, 202) /42 

Bedrooms /42 

Bathrooms /46 

Linen Closet (209) /47 



ILLUSTRATIONS /49 



BIBLIOGRAPHY /101 



IV 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



Cover: 

Figure 1-2 Kettle Falls Hotel, from 1915 to 1942 

3-6 Porch, from 1942 to 1986 

7-12 Lobby, from c.1971 to 1986 

13-14 Dining Room, from c. 1973-77 to 1986 

15-17 Kitchen, from 1958 to 1979 

18-19 Auxiliary kitchen and laundry, 1950s 

20-38 Barroom, from 1942 to 1986 

39-41 Bedrooms, from 1971 to 1986 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 



This report on the furnishings and functions of the various rooms in the 
Kettle Falls Hotel could not have been written without the active coop- 
eration of several members of the Williams family whose collective 
memory covers the hotel's history from 1918 to the present. Taped 
interviews (1978 and 1982) with Charlie and Blanche Williams and three 
of their children—June Dougherty and Mike and Chuck Will iams--are the 
prime source of information on what life at Kettle Falls was like, 
particularly after 1956. During my visit to Voyageurs National Park in 
July 1987, I had the benefit of a tour of the hotel and falls area under 
the knowledgeable guidance of Chuck Williams, the current concessioner. 
Mr. Williams also provided free access to the Kettle Falls Hotel collec- 
tion stored in several buildings at Kettle Falls while hotel renovation 
is under way. At a subsequent meeting with Charlie and Blanche 
Williams, Mike Williams, and June Williams Dougherty, I received answers 
to many questions about the furnishings and permission to copy and use 
in this report a number of family snapshots not previously seen by 
researchers. For their willing assistance in this project, I wish to 
acknowledge my deep gratitude. 

I am beholden also to the superintendent and staff of Voyageurs National 
Park for information and support services, which have facilitated prep- 
aration of this report. In particular, I wish to acknowledge my in- 
debtedness to Mary Graves, cultural resource management specialist, and 
Catherine Wuvcha, summer intern, for their assistance in inventorying 
and photographing the hotel furnishings in storage at Kettle Falls and 
in bringing to my attention historical material in the park files and at 
the Koochiching County Public Library and the Koochiching County Histor- 
ical Museum. 



vn 



ADMINISTRATIVE DATA 

PRIOR PLANNI N G DOCUMENTS 

"Master Plan for the Proposed Voyageurs National Park," 1968. 

"Voyageurs National Park Survey of Historical Structures," by John 
Hackett and Liza Nagle, 1975. 

IDLCS: 09288, Management Category B: should be preserved. Added to 
the National Register on January 11, 1976. 

"Interpretive Prospectus," June 1981. 

"Historic Structure Report, Kettle Falls Hotel and Associated 
Facilities," by Architectural Resources, Inc., December 1981. 



HISTORICAL DATA 



INTRODUCTION 

The Kettle Falls Hotel is located at the eastern extremity of the Kabe- 
togama Peninsula in Voyageurs National Park, about 50 miles east of 
International Falls, Minnesota. It is accessible only by water. Pri- 
vately owned until its purchase by the National Park Service in 1977, 
the hotel continued to operate under a concession agreement with the 
former owners. The hotel was closed and emptied of its furnishings in 
1986 to permit exterior restoration and interior adaptation by the 
National Park Service. It is scheduled to reopen as a concessioner- 
operated hotel in the late spring of 1988. 

This report documents the history of the hotel furnishings during the 
period of private ownership (from 1910 to 1977) and provides some guide- 
lines for the concessioner and the park administration in regard to use, 
interpretation, and preservation of the surviving furnishings. An 
inventory of hotel furnishings stored in various buildings at Kettle 
Falls in 1987 is on file at park headquarters. 

The history of the Kettle Falls area is covered in considerable detail 
in the "Historic Structure Report: Kettle Falls Hotel and Associated 
Facilities," prepared for the Nationa 1 Park Service by Architectural 
Resources, Inc., Duluth, Minnesota, December 1981. The following sec- 
tion of this report presents a condensed, two-part chronology of 1) 
ownership, and 2) structural changes in the hotel from 1910 to 1977, 
followed by a more detailed account of the people associated with the 
hotel and a room-by-room analysis of room use and furnishings. 



ANALYSIS OF HISTORIC OCCUPANCY 
Chronology of Ownership 

1910-1918 W. Ed Rose, owner-operator 

1918-1956 Robert S. and Hilma (Lil) Williams, owners and 

operators 

1956-1961 Lil Williams, owner-operator, assisted by Charles R. 

and Blanche Williams 

1961-1977 Charles R. and Blanche Williams, owners and opera- 

tors 

1977-present U.S. National Park Service, owner; Kettle Falls 

Hotel, Inc., concessioner since 1977 (Michael 
Williams, president, 1977-1982; Charles A. Williams, 
president, 1982-present) 



Chronology of Structural Development 

1910-1915. Hotel construction occurred in three stages. Investigation 
of the structure during the 1986/87 renovation revealed that the hotel 
initially included only the east wing (lobby, dining room, bedrooms 
1-10, and probably the lean-to kitchen). By 1915 the north wing had 
been added, comprising the barroom, storage rooms, and bedrooms 11-19. 
In a 1915 photograph (fig. 1), the apparent lack of paint or weathering 
on the porch suggests that it had just been built. 

1915-1920. An undated early photograph shows that since 1915 the porch 
had been painted white and a small window for extra ventilation had 



1. Information from Mary Graves, cultural resource management spe- 
cialist, Voyageurs National Park; 1915 photograph in the collection of 
the Koochiching County Historical Museum, International Falls, Minneso- 
ta. 



been added under the eaves of the kitchen. Two small trees flanked the 
front steps. 

3 
1918, A 32-volt direct current electrical system introduced. 

1935. A photograph in the "1935 Tourist Edition" of The Daily Journal , 

International Falls, Minnesota, shows no change since the early 1920s, 

4 
except that the trees had grown considerably. 



1938. A photograph in the "1938 Tourist Edition" of The Daily Journal 

shows lattice work under the porch for the first time, a fenced yard, 

5 
and different trees. 



1942, June. A photograph (fig. 2) taken by former employee Norman 
Selsaas reveals several changes since 1938, including striped awnings 
over the bedroom windows, a canopy over the entrance steps, and flower 
beds but no trees in front of the hotel. A porch behind the kitchen is 
also visible for the first time; earlier photographs were taken too 
close up to show this, so its date is uncertain. This porch later 
became the auxiliary kitchen. 



2. Undated photograph, c.1920, in the collection of the Koochiching 
County Historical Museum. 

3. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, "Historic 
Structure Report: Kettle Falls Hotel and Associated Facilities," by 
Architectural Resources, Inc. (December 1981), pp. 52-55 (hereafter 
cited as HSR) . 

4. The Daily Journal , International Falls, Minnesota, "1935 Tourist 
Edition," Koochiching County Public Library, International Falls. 

5. The Daily Journal , International Falls, Minnesota, "1938 Tourist 
Edition," Koochiching County Public Library. 

6. Original owned by Norman Selsaas, International Falls; copy nega- 
tive, Voyageurs National Park. 



Late 1940s. Witte 110/120-volt electrical power plant installed, tied 
into the existing "knob and tube" wiring. 

1956. Witte power plant destroyed by fire, replaced by a Buda 20/25 KW 
power plant. Downstairs wiring replaced with Romex wiring. Plumbing 
installed in kitchen and a sink in the upstairs hallway. About the same 
time the back porch was converted into an auxiliary kitchen with walk-in 
cooler, and the laundry was built on the east end of the auxiliary 
ki tchen . 

1961. A 10 KW Witte power plant replaced the Buda power plant. About 

the same time, the plumbing system was extended to provide men's and 

women's toilets on the first floor (in a former storage area behind the 

g 
barroom) and on the second floor (formerly bedroom 15). 

1962. The building was reroofed. 

1964. An addition, built at the north end of the second floor, provided 
two shower rooms, each with a lavatory and water closet. A radio tele- 
phone was installed the same year. 



1969. Witte power plant replaced with a 20KW General Motors diesel 
power plant. 



7. HSR, p. 55. 

8. HSR, pp. 42, 56, 104, and 187. 

9. HSR, pp. 43 and 56. 

10. Blanche Williams, interview, October 9, 1982, p. 4. 

11. Mike and Chuck Williams, interview, February 10, 1978, pp. 5 and 
13. 

12. HSR, p. 56. 



1970. Part of the kitchen rewired, additional outlets provided in the 

lobby, and additional lighting and a gas heater installed in the bar- 

13 
room. 

14 

1971. Bell Telephone system installed. 



1973. Bedrooms 3 and 5 combined to provide more space for Mr. and Mrs. 

15 
Williams; electric fans installed in barroom. 



1974. Second floor rewired, replacing original 1918 knob-and-tube 
wiring with concealed wiring, pull chain lights with switch-operated 
lights. 16 

1978. Kitchen remodelled. 



1986-1987. Whole building renovated by the National Park Service. 



Owners and Occupants of the Kettle Falls Hotel, 1910-1977 

Ed Rose . Of the original owner, W.E. (Ed) Rose, little is known. The 
tradition is that his financial backer was a well-known madam and that 
resident "girls" were one of the establishment's attractions. The hotel 
also offered food, drink, and lodging to its guests, mainly construction 
workers on the Kettle Falls dams (1910-13), lumberjacks, and fishermen. 



13. HSR, pp. 56-57. 

14. Mike and Chuck Williams, interview, 1978, p. 13. 

15. June Dougherty, interview, February 12, 1978, p. 16; HSR, p. 58; 
Mike and Chuck Williams, interview, 1978, pp. 4-5. 

16. HSR, p. 57; Mike and Chuck Williams, interview, 1978, p. 6. 

17. HSR, p. 189. 



In 1918 Rose, said to have been suffering from tuberculosis, sold the 
hotel property to Robert S. Williams for $1,000 and four barrels of 
whiskey. 

Bob and Li 1 Williams . Robert Sloan Williams, born on May 15, 1879, in 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, moved as a young man to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. 
He was a chef at the Palmer House in Chicago before settling in Ranier, 
Minnesota, in 1910. There he operated a hotel and nightclub. In 1918 
he took over the Kettle Falls Hotel as a supplemental source of income. 

Williams married twice. His first wife was a divorcee with one son, 

Charles, who took his stepfather's name. After her death, Bob Williams 

19 
married Hilma (Lil) Marie King in 1921. 

Bob Williams' main source of income was a nightclub in the town of 
Ranier, which operated year-round. The hotel at Kettle Falls was open 
only from late spring to early fall, and its operation was primarily 
Mrs. Williams' responsibility. She did most of the cooking herself. An 
advertisement in 1938 called particular attention to her talent in this 
regard: "Long experience has taught Mrs. Williams what the outdoors 

will do for the fisherman's appetite and the meals are all that could be 

20 
desired. Fish dinners here are a treat not soon forgotten." 



18. Charles R. Williams, interview, August 16, 1976; Mary Lou Pearson 
and Frank Ackerman, "Kettle Falls Hotel: North Woods Rendezvous," 
unpublished paper read before the Minnesota Historical Society, October 
1979, pp. 5-6. 

19. Obituary of Robert S. Williams, Daily Journal , International Falls, 
Minnesota, July 2, 1956; Ron Schara, "Out-of-the-Way Inn," Minneapolis 
Tribune , no date, quoted in Pearson and Ackerman, "Kettle Falls Hotel," 
p. 10; June Dougherty, interview, 1978, p. 20. 

20. "1938 Tourist Edition," Daily Journal , International Falls, June; 
Dougherty, interview, 1978, p. 6. 



"Grandma Lil ," as she was known to a later generation, ran the hotel 
from the 1920s to the mid-1950s with the help of "various characters" 

whom her granddaughter has described as "funny people, maybe some of 

21 
them were bad people, I guess... but colorful people." 

Even after the dam workers and lumberjacks had passed from the scene by 

the mid-1930s, Kettle Falls still attracted a primarily male clientele 

whose goings on were not always suitable for the eyes and ears of 

children. 

I wanted to work up there when I was a teenager, [says 
her granddaughter, speaking of the late 1940s and early 
1950s] and she wouldn't let me. I thought she thought I 
was lazy, but I guess there were things going on that she 
didn't feel that I should be there, which I was never 
aware of; it was always discreet, whatever went on 22 

Lil Williams did not much like women guests, as she felt "maybe they'd 

be criticizing or snooping," but with the men she could be relaxed and 

23 
informal . 



Bob Williams spent most of his time running his night club in Ranier. 
During prohibition years (from 1920 to 1933) he also operated a number 
of stills and a distribution network for his own and smuggled liquor 

from Canada. Several large Red Wing stoneware jugs from one of the 

24 
still sites are in the Voyageurs National Park collection. 

Soon after Bob Williams' death at 77 on June 30, 1956, a new era began 
at Kettle Falls Hotel. Although Lil Williams carried on for a few more 
years as owner-operator, her health began to fail in 1958. She died in 



21. Dougherty, interview, p. 6. 

22. Ibid., p. 20. 

23. Blanche Williams, interview, 1982, pp. 27-28. 

24. Pearson and Ackerman, "Kettle Falls Hotel," pp. 12-13, 



Florida on August 10, 1961, leaving the hotel to her foster son and 

daughter-in-law Charles R. and Blanche Jespersen Williams, who had been 

25 
helping operate the hotel since the 1956 season. 



Charlie and Blanche Williams . When Blanche and Charlie Williams began 
helping Lil Williams at Kettle Falls Hotel during the summer of 1956, 
they had been married for nearly 25 years. Their oldest child, June, 
was already married to Bill Dougherty; their first child was born the 
day Grandpa Bob died that summer. Peggy Ann, aged four, was the 
youngest of Charlie and Blanche's six children. Between her and June 
were four boys -- Dale (Bucko), 22; Robert (Robbie), 20; Michael (Mike), 
10; and Charles A. (Chuck), 8. 

From 1956 to 1961, Blanche Williams helped her mother-in-law cook and 
manage the hotel and gradually took charge as Lil ' s health failed. 
Charlie, employed at the paper mill in International Falls, came out 
weekends; in 1957 and 1962, after back surgery, he spent the summer with 
the family at Kettle Falls. 

With Lil Williams' death in 1961, ownership of the hotel passed to 
Charlie and Blanche. Four years later, Charlie Williams was appointed 
keeper of the dam at Kettle Falls and retired from the mill. There- 
after, until 1977, Charlie and Blanche operated the hotel, with help 
from family and a few hired employees. Blanche's sister, Margaret 
Casey, came up weekends to do the laundry. June and Bill Dougherty came 
up to help most weekends and the younger Williams children and other 
relatives, including Harold Jespersen and Sherry Casey Stemm, were also 
pressed into service. Hired help tended to change from season to sea- 
son, although some employees, like Jean Matson and Judy Leighton in the 

2fi 
late 1950s and early 1960s, returned for several seasons. 



25. Blanche Williams, interview, 1978, p. 3. 

26. Ibid., pp. 2-4, 9-10, 12; family comments on draft report, 



10 



Under the management of Blanche and Charlie Williams the old hotel began 
to take on a more up-to-date look. Indoor plumbing and a more adequate 
lighting system, improved kitchen equipment, gas heaters and electric 
fans, and carpeted floors in the dining room and lobby all contributed 
to the comfort and convenience of owners and guests alike. At the same 
time, a strong effort was made to preserve the flavor of earlier days in 
the furnishings and in the menu. Sport fishermen still predominated 
among the guests, but more couples and mixed groups began to turn up. 
On a busy weekend in the 1960s there might be as many as 190 people for 
Sunday dinner and e\/ery room occupied for the weekend. Fishing, of 

course, was the main attraction, but the bar, in Blanche's words, 

27 
"always made a good living." 

Kettle Falls depended less on commercial advertising to attract cus- 
tomers than on the good word passed by satisfied customers to their 
friends. A high proportion of guests were repeaters, some for as many 
as thirty seasons. These visitors tended to cherish the hotel's nostal- 
gic, somewhat raffish atmosphere, particularly the wildly uneven floors 
and sagging joists, which earned it in later years the nickname, "the 
til tin' Hilton." 28 

Charlie and Blanche, having sold the hotel in 1977 to the National Park 

Service, decided to retire at the end of that season. As in years past, 

they celebrated with a "closing party." 

People that we invited [explains Blanche Williams] 
were people from the other resorts because they sent 
us business all the time and it was a way to show 
our appreciation. We used to have all the stuff 
that was left, and I would invite them if they 
wanted to come Friday night and stay through Satur- 
day night and leave Sunday. Oh, we used to have the 
best parties.... It was just a lot of fun. 29 



27. Ibid., pp. 8 and 29. 

28. Ibid., pp. 26-27; poster, Kettle Falls Hotel collection, 

29. Blanche Williams, interview, 1982, pp. 29-31. 



11 



Nation al Park Service . After the National Park Service acquired Kettle 
Falls Hotel as part of Voyageurs National Park, it continued to be 
operated by the Williams family under a concession agreement. From 1978 
to 1982 Mike Williams was the concessioner; since 1982 his brother Chuck 
Williams has held the concession. 

The hotel was closed in 1986 to permit renovation and exterior restora- 
tion by the National Park Service. It is scheduled to reopen in May 
1988. 



12 



EVIDENCE OF ROOM USE AND FURNISHINGS, 1910-1986 

This section presents the historical evidence on a room-by-room basis. 
Room names are those commonly used by the Williams family. Room numbers 
(in parentheses) are those assigned in the "Historic Structure Report" 
(see Base Information Floor Plans, pages 9-10, reproduced on pages 14 
and 15). 

Porch (101, West Porch; 104, East Porch) 

As originally built about 1915, the screened porch extended across the 
south front of the hotel from the barroom to the dining room. The front 
steps, east of center, were originally uncovered, but since the mid- 
19305 have been roofed over. Sometime after 1961 the porch was divided 
into two sections. 

...when you walk in the hotel... to the left you go 
toward the bar; to the right there is a half wall 
with a screen and a dining area. At one time that 
was just all porch where people could sit, but... 
they always wanted to be down near the bar end of 
it. They needed more room for serving people, so 
they made [the east] part of it into a dining room. 

The east end of the porch before the division appears in 1942 and 1961 
photographs (figs. 3 and 4) when it was still used as a place to sit and 
talk. The later dining function is illustrated in a 1986 photograph 
(fig. 6). The west half of the porch appears in photographs taken in 
1961 and 1986 (figs. 4 and 5). In postcard photographs from the 1960s 
and 1970s (not illustrated) and 1977 photographs in the "Historic Struc- 
ture Report," vines, probably Virginia creeper, covered the porch. 



1. They are uncovered in the "1935 Tourist Edition" of the Interna- 
tional Falls Daily Journal and covered in the "1938 Tourist Edition." 

2. June Dougherty, interview, 1978, p. 21. 



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According to Mrs. Dougherty, these were sometimes cut back. "That would 

upset my mom," she says, "but they always come back. They keep it cool 

3 
and... it's such a pleasant feeling." 



Finishes . As far back as anyone remembers, the walls, ceiling, and wood 

4 
trim were painted white, the floor was gray. 



Furnishings . In 1942 (fig. 3) the east end of the porch was furnished 

with mission-style armchairs, including a rocker, and at least two 

rustic chairs. A shelf on the wall held three unidentifiable plants in 

earthenware pots. A strip of matting 3 or 4 feet wide partially covered 

the floor down the center. A striped awning, inside the screen, was 

5 
probably discarded later when vines provided plenty of shade. 

In a photograph taken about 1961 (fig. 4) at least two wicker armchairs 
can be seen, but the photograph is too dark to make out other pieces of 
porch furniture. A small, hand-lettered sign, with an arrow pointing 
to the "Bar Room" is on the wall to the right of the lobby door; an 
unidentifiable small poster hangs on the wall next to it. 

A photograph from 1986 (fig. 6) shows the east porch furnished as a 
dining area, with two square and one round table and 15 or 16 assorted 



3. Postcards, undated, Kettle Falls Hotel collection; HSR, pp. 3, 6, 
14; June Dougherty, interview, 1978, p. 21. 

4. June Dougherty, interview, 1978, p. 22; Charlie Williams, interview, 
July 10, 1987. 

5. None of these pieces appear to be among the surviving Kettle Falls 
Hotel furnishings, owned by the concessioner. 

6. The two wicker chairs, or ones very like them, have survived; see 
Inventory, Section II. 



16 



wooden chairs. The tables are covered with gingham checked tablecloths 
(possibly plasticized). The two overhead lights have suspended dif- 
fuse rs. The floor is bare. 



The west end of the porch in 1977 and in 1986 (fig. 5) was furnished 
with a mixture of old and new chairs in rustic wood, wicker, leather (or 
vinyl), and steel-and-plastic. A large rustic armchair with the name 
Olaf carved into the crest rail harks back to the 1920s or 1930s when 

g 

"Big 01 ie" was a bartender in Williams* Night Club in Ranier. Two 

wicker chairs and a wicker settee, painted two shades of green, probably 

date from the same period. The leather or vinyl overstuffed chairs and 

sofa could date from the 1950s while the steel and plastic chairs were 

g 
probably acquired in the 1960s or early 1970s. As June Dougherty put 

it in 1978: 

They have wicker chairs out there, but some of them 
have fallen apart through the years but they have 
been there as long as I can remember. There is some 
new furniture out there. But you have people using 
furniture, it wears. 

She remembered particularly a wicker couch that was later thrown out and 

k A 10 

bu rn ed . 



On the wall between the barroom windows there was a modern public tele- 
phone, in a simulated cut-away barrel, and a collection of old logging 
tools. As at the east end of the porch, there were two overhead light 
fixtures with suspended diffusers. The floor was bare. 



7. The furniture is in the Kettle Falls collection. The overhead light 
fixtures were discarded when the hotel was undergoing renovation in 
1986. 

8. Concessioner's collection; family interview, 1987; HSR, p. 14. 

9. All in the concessioner's collection. 

10. June Dougherty, interview, 1978, p. 22; family interview, 1987. 

11. The old logging tools are in the concessioner's collection; the 
overhead lights were discarded in 1986; the telephone booth's disposi- 
tion is not known. 



17 



Lobby (102) 

Unless he headed straight for the barroom on the left, a hotel guest's 
first stop would be the lobby, directly ahead of him as he came up the 
steps onto the porch. Here he would sign the guest register and arrange 
for his room and meals, then head up the stairs in the southeast corner 
to his assigned bedroom. 

The lobby's other function (reflected in its alternate name: "lounge") 
was to serve as a pre- and post-mealtime (or rainy day) gathering place 
where guests could talk, sing around the upright piano, listen to 
records on the old Victrola, watch television (from the early 1960s), or 
play cards. 

The lobby afforded direct access to the dining room but not to the 
barroom, which could be reached only by going out on the porch or 
through a covered passage (a later addition to the building) on the 
north side of the lobby. 

Finishes . Walls and ceiling were painted off-white or light tan, later 

pale green, and finally pale yellow. Woodwork was varnished at first 

but later painted to match the walls. It is not known when these 
changes occurred. 

Utilities . As far as the family knows, the lobby was always heated by a 
free-standing, wood-burning barrel stove. It stood on a metal plate in 
the northwest quadrant of the room, with a stovepipe that reached up and 
across to the chimney on the west wall, about four feet away (fig. 7). 
Around 1970 a gas heating unit was installed, suspended from the ceiling 
just south of the chimney (fig. 8). The barrel stove appears to have 
been used occasionally even after 1970. 



1. June Dougherty, interview, 1978, p. 21; figures 7-12 

2. HSR, pp. 104-105, 189. 



18 



...the old stove in the lobby, we worry about it 
[June Dougherty said in 1978]. I can start a fire 
in it, and my mother and dad, but some people don't 
understand that it's old and you just don't fire it 
up like you did years ago. That's always been 
there. 

3 
The stove was later disconnected (fig. 9). 



Overhead lights before 1956 were probably naked bulbs, as in the barroom 

(fig. 20), but from about 1956, when the downstairs was rewired, until 

1986, the lobby had four canopy-type, single-lamp, incandescent fixtures 

mounted on the exposed beams, with bowl -like diffusers hung by three 

4 
bead chains. 

Furnishings . Coming into the lobby from the porch (the east door was 
regularly used) the visitor was immediately confronted by the registra- 
tion desk (fig. 10). 

The desk in the lobby has been there in the hotel as 
long as I [Blanche] can remember, and the first year 

I came up there was in 1932 That desk had 

opened up and had a bedspring of some sort in it, 
not a coil spring, and an old mattress and that had 
been used as a bed. You can open it up but there's 
nothing there now -- the springs are gone. 

Charlie Williams says that this was used as a "hideaway bed" in the 

5 
Williams home near Ranier before it was brought out to the hotel. 

On the desk was the guest register of the moment, the latest in a series 
of varying styles and sizes. All of these appear to have survived, 



3. Blanche Williams, interview, 1982, p. 24; June Dougherty, interview, 
1978, p. 8; HSR, illustration p. 13 ("Living Room"). This stove is in 
storage at Kettle Falls. 

4. HSR, p. 60. These fixtures were discarded when the hotel was reno- 
vated in 1986. 

5. Blanche Williams, interview, p. 24; family interview, 1987. 



19 



including the very first, a large ledger-like volume dating back to the 
time the hotel was built. This volume contains, as one journalist put 
it, "enough interesting names to occupy a history buff for most of an 
afternoon," although another writer "felt sure that, in years gone by, 
many men had declined to record their names in the register." So many 
later visitors have turned the pages of the old register that its 
binding finally gave out and was replaced in similar style. 

Another object of long use in the lobby was an old wind-up Victrola, 
bearing a manufacturer's label dated 1917. It still (1987) contains a 
few 78 rpm popular records from the 1940s or 1950s. The Victrola stood, 
in 1986, on the west wall near the back door (fig. 9). 

On the north wall, between the back door and the window (fig. 9), stood 
a turn-of-t he-century upright piano, which originally belonged to Bob 
Williams' sister in Ladysmith, Wisconsin. Later it was used in Bob and 
Lil's home near Rainier. They brought it out to the hotel in 1937, 
according to Blanche Williams. No sheet music seems to have survived, 
but a 1942 piano instruction book suggests that at least one of the 
Williams children practiced piano here during the summer. 

The other clearly old object in the lobby was the barrel stove, already 
discussed above. 



6. Jay Griggs, "No Roads Lead to Kettle Fall s," Daily Journal , Interna- 
tional Falls, Minnesota, c.1976 (copy, Voyageurs National Park); Jim 
Kimball, "Historic Hotel in Kettle Falls Is Still Lively," Minneapol is 
Tribune , January 26, 1969. All the guest registers are in the pos- 
session of the concessioner. The first register has been rebound in the 
same style as the original covers. 

7. Concessioner's collection, Kettle Falls. 

8. Family interview, 1987. The piano is owned by the concessioner; in 
July 1987 it was undergoing restoration in Minneapolis. The piano 
instruction booklets are in the concessioner's collection at Kettle 
Falls. 



20 



Several pieces in the lobby in 1986 were clearly of pre-1945 vintage, 

although they may have been used elsewhere in earlier years. These 

include a 1921 Toledo kitchen scale, presumably used in the hotel 

kitchen at one time; an oak washstand from one of the bedrooms; two 

round, oak, pedestal tables, similar to those used in the dining room; 

9 
two wash bowl and pitcher sets; and an old Singer sewing machine. 

Other pieces in the room in 1986 appear to date from after 1945. One of 
the couches (fig. 10), for instance, was identified by Blanche Williams 
in 1982 as one she had bought for her own home in 1948; she later 
brought it out to Kettle Falls and threw a cover over it to hide its 
worn upholstery. Others of similar or later vintage include a leather 
or vinyl upholstered couch and two chairs, several maple Windsor chairs, 
one steel and plastic chair, a floor lamp, and a TV set and stand (figs. 
8, 10-11). 10 

All four walls were rather haphazardly decorated with about 10 pictures, 
4 maps of the area, an old mirror, a black bear skin, a stuffed snow 
goose with wings outstretched, a Finnish sauna dipper, a birch bark 
basket and miniature canoe (on top of the piano), and a blue enamelled 
water pitcher (on top of the Victrola). Most of these items date from 
after 1950, but the walls probably were similarly decorated in earlier 
years. 

The row of coat hooks on the east wall (fig. 10) presumably were for the 
use of dining room guests. 

June Dougherty said that both the lobby and dining room floors were 
covered with linoleum in the mid-fifties. 



9. See figures 8-12. All of these pieces are in the concessioner's 
collection at Kettle Falls. 

10. Blanche Williams, interview, 1982, p. 23; figures 8-12. 

11. Figures 7-12. The bear skin (dating from 1965) and snow goose 
(1974) are owned by Mike Williams; the other pieces are in the con- 
cessioner's collection at Kettle Falls. 

21 



...every other day we would have to mop it and get 
it dry before the customers arrived. That was a 
problem because there was always people tramping 
through, so we did go to indoor carpeting which is 
more practical than the linoleum on the floors. 12 

Reading material for guests in the 1950s and later included the Satur - 
day Evening Post , Life , and the National Geographic . A table with a 

13 
magazine is just visible behind the draped couch in figure 8. 



A number of hand-lettered or printed signs near the registration desk 
added to the homey character of the lobby. These signs informed 

visitors of dining room hours and prices and warned that no animals were 

14 
allowed in the hotel and that only guests were allowed upstairs. 

To summarize, the lobby in late years, and presumably in earlier years 
as well, was furnished with sturdy, practical pieces to serve its regis- 
tration and lounge functions. As each piece wore out it was replaced, 
often with something discarded from the owners' own home. The result 
was a mixture of styles and materials spanning several decades. Pic- 
tures and objects around the fringes of the room probably changed 
annually and reflected current interests rather than any decorative 
plan. It was a room in which tired fishermen could relax at the end of 
a long day in a comfortable informal setting. 



12. June Dougherty, interview, 1978, pp. 7-8. 

13. Family interview, 1987. A magazine rack in the concessioner's 
house at Kettle Falls may also have been in the hotel lobby at one time. 

14. Figure 10; Pearson and Ackerman, "Kettle Falls Hotel," p. 12. 



22 



Dining Room (103) 

All meals were served family style in this room and, in recent years, on 
the adjacent east porch. Breakfast for hotel guests was served around 
6:30 or 7:00, lunch about noon, and dinner after 5:00. People who were 
not staying at the hotel could have a meal in the dining room between 
noon and 5:00 p.m. Packed lunches were also available for hotel guests 
planning to fish all day. At its peak in the 1950s and 1960s, the hotel 
served Sunday dinner to as many as 190 people. 

The Menu . Breakfast usually was served about 6:30. "Sometimes we 

started earlier," says Blanche Williams, "if we had it ready and they 

were sitting around waiting; well, you might as well get them off your 

hands." The breakfast menu offered scrambled or fried eggs, bacon, 

pancakes or french toast, syrup, jam and jelly, juice, and homemade 

bread. "If you were there just for two nights, you would have the same 

breakfast, or even for three days," according to June Dougherty, "but 

if you were there for longer, you would have your bacon, juice and 

2 
french toast made from homemade bread one morning." 

For long-term hotel guests, "noon lunch was lighter than the evening 

meal," usually homemade pea soup made with a ham bone or vegetable soup 

or chili, with crackers or "a certain kind of Thuringer." 

For lunch on Saturday. . .usually in warm weather it 
would be ham, potato salad, baked beans, homemade 
bread, some kind of dessert, sometimes a rice pudding 
or bread pudding or something on that order. If it 
was a cold day mother and grandma would have ham, au 
gratin potatoes, and always the beans with it... and 
some kind of a relish tray and your dessert. 3 



1. Blanche Williams, interview, 1982, pp. 6, 8, 28; June Dougherty, 
interview, 1978, pp. 13-15. A sign showing dining room hours hung in 
the lobby next to the dining room door (fig. 10). 

2. Blanche Williams, interview, 1982, pp. 5-6, 28; June Dougherty, 
interview, 1978, pp. 12-13, 15. 

3. June Dougherty, interview, pp. 13-14. 

23 



By the mid-fifties, visitors began to want lighter lunches, as Blanche 

Williams recalls: 

We never used to serve sandwiches. Grandma Lil 
always used to say, "If they're hungry they'll eat a 
meal." She really got mad if anyone wanted a sand- 
wich. I wanted to do as she had done because I 
thought she was successful. But we finally had to 
start serving hamburgers. 4 



Packed lunches -- "sandwiches. . .cookies or something" -- were always 

provided for those who wanted to stay out fishing all day, although many 

people seemed "to prefer coming in and wondering what are they going to 

5 
have for lunch," according to June Dougherty. 

The dinner menu regularly offered three basic entrees in rotation -- 

fish, beef, and chicken. 

If someone came up for a weekend, to stay... on 
Friday, they would try to have walleye pike for your 
Friday night dinner; if they didn't have the pike it 
might be roast beef, and if it was a roast beef 
dinner you would have mashed potatoes and a tossed 
salad and some kind of a vegetable and always a 
homemade dessert of some kind, pie quite often, in 

the past pineapple upside-down cake These later 

years, the desserts haven't been as elaborate as 
they were 

...If you had the walleye on Friday night you would 
have the chicken on Saturday night, with the french 
fries,... cottage cheese and cole slaw and pie or 

cake or something Then Sunday noon sometimes 

turkey. If you had chicken though [on Saturday] you 
wouldn't have turkey on Sunday; you wouldn't have a 
fowl two days in a row. If you had fish Friday,... 
chicken Saturday night, you might have roast beef on 
Sunday noon. 



4. Blanche Williams, interview, p. 29. 

5. Ibid., p. 6; June Dougherty, 1978, interview, p. 14. 

6. June Dougherty, interview, 1978, pp. 12-13. 



24 



To Mrs. Williams, Sunday afternoon meant fried chicken. "I can't eat 
chicken to this day," she said in 1982, after five years in retirement; 
"on a Sunday afternoon especially. Oh, we fried chicken and chicken and 
chicken!" 



Only in very recent years were dinner patrons offered a choice of en- 
trees. A 1983 menu, for instance, listed walleye, white fish, shrimp, 

o 

T-bone steak, chicken, and "special of the day," all broiled or fried. 

Finishes . Originally the walls and ceiling were painted an off-white or 
light tan; this was changed to pale yellow at an unknown date. The 

woodwork was originally stained and varnished, later painted the wall 

. 9 
color. 

Utilities . Originally there was a chimney at the east end of the hotel 
(fig. 2), which ran up the east wall of the dining room, but this ap- 
pears to have been closed off before 1942 (fig. 2). The chimney breast 
remained in the dining room but there is no evidence that it served a 
heating stove within living memory. 

Before the building was dismantled in 1986, the dining room was lighted 
by four 2-lamp, incandescent, canopy-type fixtures with square glass 
diffusers (fig. 13). These presumably dated from about 1956 when the 
downstairs was rewired. Earlier lighting probably consisted of four 
naked bulbs in porcelain landholders. 



7. Blanche Williams, interview, 1982, p. 7. 

8. Menu in Kettle Falls collection (copy, Voyageurs National Park). 

9. HSR, pp. 104-105, 189. 

10. HSR, p. 60. 



25 



Furnishings . In 1978, June Dougherty described the dining room as 
having remained basically "the same" over the years. This was particu- 
larly true of the heavy oak tables, some round, some square, some dating 
back to the hotel's early years, some more recent. "They got a new 
dining table at home," as Mrs. Dougherty put it, "and, I think, brought 
the old one to Kettle Falls." Some tables also had tops made of Insu- 
lite, a pressed wood material produced in International Falls. 

A special shelf, with a hole in the center, fitted around the column in 
the center of the room, which supports the main beam (fig. 13). This 

table, set a little higher than in 1986, held a pail of iced drinking 

12 
water, which was ladled into water glasses. 

The dining room chairs in early years were wooden ones of several 
styles. These gradually fell apart and by the 1970s had been replaced 
with a set of steel and yellow vinyl restaurant chairs (fig. 13). 
Surviving oak or maple chairs of at least three designs were still being 
used in the porch dining area in 1986 (fig. 6); all three types probably 
pre-date the 1950s. 13 

There were two buffets (figs. 13, 15). The smaller one stood to the 
right of the kitchen door; it was brought out from the Williams' home 

farm in the 1920s. A larger buffet, probably dating from the 1930s, was 

14 
brought to the hotel later and stood between the north windows. 



11. June Dougherty, interview, p. 7; HSR, illustration p. 13. Several 
of these tables are in the concessioner's collection at Kettle Falls. 

12. Family interview, 1987. This table is in the Kettle Falls collec- 
tion. 

13. These chairs and the later ones are in the concessioner's Kettle 
Falls collection. 

14. Family interview, 1987. The smaller buffet is in the conces- 
sioner's collection at Kettle Falls. The location of the other one is 
not recorded. 



26 



Around the walls hung many pictures; at least a dozen appear on three 

walls in 1986 (figs. 13, 15). Among them were a c.1933 photograph of 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, an oval -framed color photograph of Bob 

and Li 1 Williams, and a matching one of Charlie and Blanche Williams, a 

photograph of Bob Williams in a boat, and a very recent color print of 

voyageurs in a loaded canoe. Of particular interest were visitors' 

crayon drawings and paintings of the hotel about which June Dougherty 

said in 1978: 

A lot of people painted or drew pictures of Kettle 
Falls and would give them to my grandmother or my 

parents. They always hung them A little boy 

[Jan Bach of Forrest, Illinois] did a crayon drawing 
of the hotel when he was probably ten or eleven. 
When he became a young man [about 1957/1958], he did 
another one that is beautiful and the contrast was 
fun to see, but someone got rid of that picture.^ 

As in the lobby and barroom, pictures on the walls probably were re- 
placed frequently to make room for new acquisitions. 

In the 1930s, when Norman Selsaas was working at the hotel, a mangle 

stood in the northeast corner of the dining room. 

...their girls would mangle all the sheets and that. 
They would press and fold the sheets. That was all 
done right in the dining room. [The mangle opera- 
ted] with a big crank and elbow grease. 

Later the mangle was in the back porch/laundry area. This "Garland" 
mangle, made by Lovell Manufacturing Company, Erie, Pennsylvania, is 
still in the Kettle Falls collection. Sometime after 1960 a regular 
visitor, Harry Hafe of Milwaukee, gave Mrs. Williams an electric mangle, 
and the old one was put back in the lobby as decoration. 



15. June Dougherty, interview, 1978, pp. 7-8. The earlier drawing 
disappeared in the 1960s. 

16. Norman Selsaas, interview; family interview, 1987; family comments 
on draft report. 



27 



As far back as June Dougherty and Margaret Casey remembered, the windows 

had full-length sheer curtains. By 1978 the window had a cafe curtain 

over the lower sash and a ruffled valance outlining the upper sash (fig. 
14). 17 



The earliest floor covering was linoleum, replaced by carpeting after 

18 
1960 for ease of maintenance. 



Red and white checked tablecloths were on the dining tables and matching 

runners on the buffets in the last decade (figs. 13, 15). Earlier, 

19 
white linen cloths with clear plastic covers were used. 

The dining room china, stored in the pantry, was typical, heavy duty, 
semi-vitreous restaurant ware. Parts of two sets survive. The earlier, 

green-rimmed white ware came from the Buffalo Pottery; a later, light 

20 
brown ware is marked Syracuse EconoRim. 



17. June Dougherty, interview, p. 7; family comments on draft report, 

18. Ibid., p. 8. 

19. Family comments on draft report. 

20. Concessioner's collection, Kettle Falls. 



28 



Kitchen/Laundry Wing (Rooms 105-110) 

Kitchen . The existence of a chimney on the east wall of what is now the 
dining room suggests that when the hotel was first built (1910) the east 
room may have been the kitchen. Construction of the permanent lean-to 
kitchen must have followed very quickly, however, certainly before 1915 
(fig. 1). The kitchen changed relatively little until 1956 when plumb- 
ing was introduced, the back porch became an "auxiliary kitchen," and a 
refrigerator and walk-in cooler replaced the old ice boxes. Meals were 
cooked on a wood stove until a gas stove was installed in 1969. Dishes 
were washed by hand until 1970 when a restaurant dishwasher was ac- 
quired. A major remodelling of the two kitchens took place in 1978, 
shortly after the National Park Service assumed ownership, and again in 
1986/87. 2 



Mrs. Dougherty has described how wonderful it was to walk into the 

kitchen in Grandma Lil's time: 

...we would come in and there would be the chicken 
cooking away and their french fries -- they always 
used fresh potatoes, peeled every day or every other 
day. They used to peel them by hand, now they have 
an automatic peeler, but you still have to cut them. 
...and I remember fresh yellow wax beans and cottage 
cheese. My grandmother always served cottage cheese 
and it would be the large curd; the small wasn't any 
good she said.... and then it was cole slaw... just 
finely chopped cabbage and then sugar and vinegar on 
it mixed in certain proportions.... 

And so it would be the cole slaw, the chicken, and 
then blueberry pie. Always homemade desserts at 
Kettle Falls.... And then if you didn't have 



1. The top of this chimney can be seen at the east end of the hotel in 
figure 2 (c.1920) and in a photograph in the "1938 Tourist Edition" of 
the International Fall s Daily Journal , p. 24, but by 1942 (fig. 3) the 
upper part of this chimney appears to have been removed. Why this 
chimney was taken out of service is not known. 

2. HSR, pp. 42-43, 57-58, and illustrations on p. 16. 



29 



chicken there was walleye pike... prepared a special 
way. And then my grandfather's tartar sauce recipe 
. . .a family secret. 

...and then I'm forgetting one of the most important 
things is the homemade bread which was made every 
day. My grandmother made it and my mother makes it 
her way. It's such good bread; you can make that 
same recipe at home and it isn't the same. I think 
it's that water from the spring. 3 

The kitchen was too small and crowded to be more than a single use area 

for preparing meals and washing up afterwards. The only exception seems 

to have been a pre-breakfast gathering of hungry guests. 

In the morning before breakfast there'd be men all 
over in the kitchen, sitting. She [Lil] didn't like 
that because so much talking made it hard for her to 
concentrate. Then when we took over I let them do 
as they pleased. There were a lot of men that would 
come out in the kitchen and sit and talk and have 
coffee until breakfast was ready. 

Lil was more tolerant later in the day, however. 

The men, when she was there, after they got done 
eating, she told them, "Bring your dishes out to the 
kitchen," anxl a lot of those men would even help 
wash dishes. 

Util ities . Before the mid-1950s water had to be brought into the 
kitchen from the well outside and wood for the stove from the woodpile. 
"I had to keep all the kettles filled with water," Norman Selsaas re- 
called from the late 1930s, "so whenever they needed water I'd have to 
carry water, and also... you'd have to carry all the wood split for the 
wood stove." The wood stove provided all the heat needed on cool days. 



3. June Dougherty, interview, 1978, pp. 10-11 

4. Blanche Williams, interview, 1982, p. 28. 

5. Ibid. 

6. Norman Selsaas, interview, 1978, p. 5. 



30 



After a gas stove replaced it in 1969, a ceiling-mounted gas unit heater 
was installed in the southeast corner (HSR, p. 16). 

Furnishings . Between 1918 and 1986 there appear to have been only 

three stoves. The wood stove (figs. 15, 16) was in use until 1969, but 

outlasted its usefulness. 

It was just falling apart.... In the last years we 
couldn't use the oven and we had another gas 
stove... out on the back porch and that's where I had 
to do the baking and put the chicken in there. It 
was kind of inconvenient because it wasn't right to- 
gether. 1 

In 1969, the old wood stove was finally removed and dumped over the 
river bank at the end of International Dam and was later hauled away by 
the National Park Service. A new South Bend gas range took its place in 
the hotel kitchen, between the south windows. Blanche described the new 

o 

range as "a nice big gas stove with a big, big grill on it." This 

stove served until the hotel closed for renovation in 1986. To the left 

(east) of the stove were three or four gas-powered deep-fryers, one in 

9 
the southeast corner sitting on top of the former woodbox. 

There appear to have been three sinks in the main kitchen through the 

years, in the southwest corner. 

In the beginning we had a galvanized kitchen sink. 
It was falling apart, so Charlie. . .had a friend.... 
made this stainless steel sink, and it fit against 
the [west] wall where the dishwasher is now today. 
It had two big compartments and it was really a 
beautiful sink. But we had to wash the dishes by 
hand. 10 



7. Blanche Williams, interview, 1982, p. 11. 

8. Ibid.; family interview, 1987. 

9. Mike Williams, sketch plan of kitchens, 1987, 

10. Blanche Williams, interview, 1982, p. 10. 



31 



In 1970 they acquired a Jackson Faspray restaurant- type dishwasher, to 
Blanche Williams delight; "...the dishwasher, my God, that's a blessing, 
honestly," she said in 1982. Part of the equipment can be seen in 
figure 17 (1973). U 

In the early days, through World War II, ice boxes were the only cooling 
equipment. Ice cut in the winter was stored in an ice house that stood 
in the front yard of the hotel. Blanche Williams described it as "a 
refrigerator but it wasn't motorized--a long cooler-like type" in which 
five gallon cans of milk were kept packed in ice. The first real refri- 
gerator, probably gas-powered, was installed in the late 1940s. As soon 
as the kitchen wiring was modernized in 1956, an electric refrigerator 
was acquired for the kitchen and a walk-in cooler was installed in the 

back kitchen. Two or three freezers and a milk machine were added in 

12 
1969 for use in the auxiliary kitchen and laundry. 

For work tables they had a long table in the center of the room with two 
shelves above for serving dishes, supported by two floor- to-ceiling 

posts; a smaller table on the east wall; and "one of the big round 

13 
wooden tables" on the north side. 

There was "an old gray cupboard" in the northwest corner next to the 

dining room door. This cupboard, made for Bob and Lillian Williams, 

14 
held dishes used in the dining room. 



11. Ibid., pp. 27-28. The Faspray dishwasher is in storage at Kettle 
Falls. 

12. Blanche Williams, interview, 1978, p. 11; Norman Selsaas interview, 
1978, p. 7; HSR pp. 57-58. 

13. Figure 22; Mike Williams, sketch plan, 1987; June Dougherty, inter- 
view, 1978, p. 6. 

14. June Dougherty, interview, 1978, p. 8; Mike Williams, sketch plan. 



32 



Other electrical appliances present in the two kitchens in 1978 included 
a compressor, an evaporator, a potato peeler, a coffeemaker, a toaster, 
a microwave oven, a range hood exhaust fan, and an electric can opener. 
All of these dated from the 1960s or 1970s. 15 

Photographs from the 1950s to 1980s show every available bit of wall 

space filled with pots and pans, utensils, pot holders and so on (figs. 

15-17). Cast iron frying pans and dutch ovens figure prominently in 

Blanche Williams' and June Dougherty's memories of Li 1 Williams' famous 

browned and steamed chicken. Mrs. Dougherty's account is particularly 

interesting, as it shows how cooking methods changed with the times at 

Kettle Falls. 

Grandma Lil had her way of cooking chicken and 
through the years my mother cooked it the same 
way... where they used cast iron frying pans.... 
They used about an inch of grease or lard and then 
margarine for the browning. The chicken would be in 
quarters and dipped in well -sal ted flour and then 
browned in this grease and then put in cast iron 
dutch ovens — there would be a lid in the bottom with 
a little water put in and the chicken covered—and 
then finish cooking in the hot wood stove and now in 
the gas stove. Nobody has chicken like that any 
more. Oh, a number of years ago my mother decided 
to try the prepared chicken. Probably five years 
ago [about 1973].... They bought the cooker for 
that and the people that come to the hotel for 
chicken they seem to think its fine, but I don't 
like it and my husband says its terrible. This last 
summer [1977] I talked my sister-in-law into trying 
the old method that Grandma Lil used to do and my 
mother did years ago. I said let's try it just for 
the hotel guests; if it's too much monkey business 
we don't have to do it any more.... It was a suc- 
cess, and they do keep the other kind for a pinch, 
but Mary has gone back to the old method. 



15. Architectural Resources, Inc., draft report on electrical systems, 
March 13, 1978 (copy, Voyageurs National Park). 

16. Blanche Williams, interview, 1982, pp. 7-8; June Dougherty, inter- 
view, 1978, pp. 9-10. 



33 



Pantry (106) . The pantry was a small room off the northwest corner of 

the kitchen, used primarily for storage of dishes. The east and west 

walls were lined with shelves, and there was a porcelain top table. 

...the pantry is the same, the dishes are in the 

same spot Last summer [1977] I went into the 

pantry and I said where' s the old table, and they 
said, there was something wrong with it and it was 
at the dump. Well, my father was very upset and an 
order was given to retrieve it. It wasn't anything 
special, one of these porcelain top.... 

Fresh loaves of bread were kept in a 20-gallon Red Wing crock that stood 

18 
on a homemade stool in the pantry. 



Telephone Room (107) . Primarily a shelf-lined space for storage of food 
and other things needed in the kitchen, this little room off the north- 
east corner of the kitchen also housed, from 1971, the telephone equip- 
ment. 

Our first phone was from over in Canada, Bell Tele- 
phone of Canada. It was kind of funny. If it was 
working good, it was fine, but at times you could 
hear every conversation. It was a party line—eight 
parties or eight resorts. 



In 1981 a bear got into the kitchen through the window of this room 



20 



Auxiliary Kitchen (108) . Originally a screened back porch, this space 
was converted into a back kitchen about 1956 (figs. 18, 19). It even- 
tually contained a sink on the east wall, a gas water heater, potato 



17. June Dougherty, interview, 1978, p. 8. 

18. Family interview, 1987. The crock and stool are in the conces- 
sioner's collection, Kettle Falls. 

19. Blanche Williams, interview, 1982, p. 25; Mike and Chuck Williams, 
interview, 1978, p. 13. 

20. Blanche Williams, interview, 1982, p. 25. 



34 



peeler, and freezer on the south wall and another freezer and a table on 
the west wall. In the northwest corner was a walk-in cooler (109), in- 
stalled in 1956. 21 



L aundry (110) . Little more than a screened porch, the laundry was built 
about 1956 at the same time as the auxiliary kitchen and the introduc- 
tion of plumbing in the hotel. The exterior can be seen in figure 19, 

22 
but there is no known interior photograph. 

In the late 1930s they had a gas-operated Maytag washing machine, per- 
haps the same "wringer- type washer" that was there in the 1950s, when 

Blanche Williams' sister Margaret used to come up weekends to do the 

23 
wash. The wash dried on long clothes lines in front of the hotel. 



By 1978 the laundry contained two washing machines, an electric mangle, 
a freezer, and a toilet (111). The clothes dryers (2) were in the 
damkeeper's house. 



21. Mike Williams, sketch plan, 1987; HSR, p. 104. 

22. HSR, p. 187. 

23. Norman Selsaas, interview, 1978, p. 7; Blanche Williams, interview, 
1982, p. 12. 

24. Architectural Resources, Inc., draft report on electrical system, 
1978; Mike Williams, sketch plan, 1987; family comments on draft 
Historic Furnishings Report. 



35 



Barroom (118) 

The barroom wing, though not part of the original (1910) hotel struc- 
ture, was added before the bartenders' picnic of 1915 (fig. 1). It has 
always served the same function and has always, as Blanche Williams put 
it, "made a good living." In the early days one could get to the 
barroom only from the front or side porch; there was no direct access 
from the hotel. Probably since 1961, when the toilets were installed in 
a storeroom behind the barroom (114-115), a passage (112) has afforded 
access to the barroom from the lobby. Another storeroom (117) behind 
the barroom remained unchanged. 

Besides drinks and some food, the barroom featured a few other forms of 

entertainment. A nickelodeon installed in 1927 offered popular piano 

music; in the hotel's last years there was also a juke box (figs. 20, 

38). As early as 1956/57, there was a "bumper pool" table; a larger 

pool table replaced it about 1970 (figs. 22, 31). By 1986 even video 

2 
games had found their way to the Kettle Falls Hotel barroom (fig. 38). 

Probably the most entertaining feature of the barroom, however, was its 

wildly warped floor, the result of decades of foundation settling and 

the freezing and thawing of the earth just under the floor. 

The most amazing part of the building is its floors 
—good sound floors but nowhere level. You are 
always walking uphill, downhill or sidehill. At 
every point in the large bar-room the floor slopes 
toward the door. I guess if you roll out and can't 
make the climb back to a stool you've had it. 3 

Fond memories of this aspect of what was dubbed "the til tin' Hilton" 
inspired the National Park Service to reproduce the distorted 



1. Blanche Williams, interview, 1982, p. 29. 

2. Family interview, 1987. 

3. Kimball, "Historic Hotel," Minneapolis Tribune, January 26, 1969, 



36 



barroom floor as it was when the hotel was closed for renovation in 
1986. 4 



Util ities . No heating stove is visible in the earliest (1942) photo- 
graph of the barroom (fig. 20). The next picture, taken in 1956, shows 
a stovepipe and a low stove, probably a "bucket-a-day" potbelly stove 
(fig. 23). This stove was replaced before 1961 with an oil-burning 

heater (figs. 27, 31), which was in turn replaced in 1970 with a 

5 
ceiling-mounted gas unit heater (fig. 38). 

Plumbing was probably first brought into the barroom about 1961, at the 

same time the toilets were installed in the adjacent storeroom, an 

icemaker was installed in 1969. In earlier times, water and ice were 

brought in by hand. 

I used to get up at 5:30 eyery morning [recalled 
Norman Selsaas, a former employee] when everyone 
else was sleeping. I'd have to clean the bar room 
out, go get ice and ice the beer, and the pans where 
they wash, I'd have to drain all the water out by 
hand and put fresh water in the bar room 6 

The barroom's lighting system from 1918 to 1956 consisted of low wat- 
tage, naked, incandescent bulbs in key- type sockets hung by a twisted 
drop cord from ceiling-mounted wiring (figs. 20, 23). Thereafter, the 
barroom had keyless porcelain landholders mounted on the ceiling with 
"the new G shape incandescent lamp... to replace the old A line to be 
more decorative" (fig. 37). Bowl-shaped diffusers were added to the 
lights over the bar (fig. 36), possibly about 1973 when the ceiling fans 
were installed. 



4. The phrase "til tin' Hilton" was used on a poster (post-1980) in the 
concessioner's collection. 

5. HSR, p. 56. 

6. Norman Selsaas, interview, 1978, p. 5; HSR, p. 43. 

7. HSR, pp. 53-54, 57, and illustration p. 14; Architectural Resources, 
Inc., draft report on electrical system, 1978. 



37 



Electric lighting here, as elsewhere in the hotel, had to be backed up 

with kerosene lamps for use in case of not-infrequent power outages. 

Oh, there were plenty of kerosene lamps still there 
when I worked up there. You had some of the brack- 
ets up on the wall that held them, because if the 
[light] plant went to heck you could still light a 
kerosene lamp. They were still available to be used 
when I worked up there in the '30s.^ 

June Dougherty recalled her mother's saying that the light plant was 

"the heart of the place" because "when the light plant stops at Kettle 

9 
Falls, that's it." As late as 1986, there were at least two old kero- 
sene lanterns in the barroom (figs. 36, 38). 



Electrically powered appliances in the barroom and storeroom in 1978 
included an icemaker, two refrigerators, three ceiling fans, a bar 
cooler, and the nickelodeon and juke box. 



Furnishings . The bar visible along the east wall in the barroom photo- 
graphs (figs. 21-38) probably dates from the early 1930s and came from 
the Williams Night Club in Ranier. It is of the simplest construc- 

tion, mainly dark-stained plywood on a pine frame, with a maple-trimmed 
countertop. There is no footrail. The back bar, also of pine and 
plywood, has many drawers for storage, a deep counter, and a high back 
ideal for display of pictures, cards, cartoons, and other ephemera. 



At least four sets of bar stools have been used. Before 1950 they were 
the soda fountain type, with twisted wire frames and wooden seats. The 
next style, used from the early 1950s to the mid-1960s, was chrome steel 



8. Norman Selsaas, interview, 1978, p. 10. 

9. June Dougherty, interview, 1978, p. 7. 

10. Architectural Resources, Inc., draft report on electrical system, 
1978. 

11. Family interview, 1987. 



38 



with a red vinyl seat. Next came a wooden set, with red seat and back, 
and finally, from about the mid-1970s, chrome steel with black seat and 
back. 

Along the west wall there were three booths, each consisting of two 
high-backed benches and a free-standing table (fig. 37). They were in 
the barroom in 1942 (fig. 20) and probably all the way back to the 1930s 
or even 1920s. Photographs from 1942 to 1961 (figs. 20, 23, 28) show 
wooden armchairs in use as supplemental seating at the tables. In the 

late 1960s (fig. 31) a steel and plastic dining room chair was being 

13 
used. The bar tables were painted gray and covered with linoleum. 

Made by the J. P. Seeburg Piano Company of Chicago, the electrically- 
operated nickelodeon is said to have been one of a pair bought in 1922 
by Bob Williams. One was for his night club in Ranier, the other for 

the Kettle Falls Hotel, where it was installed in 1927 according to 

14 
family tradition. Originally powered by a 32-volt motor, it was 

refitted with a 110/120-volt motor in 1961 when the hotel power plant 

was upgraded. It always sat at the north end of the room between the 

15 
side porch and storeroom doors. 



A club pool or bumper pool table was installed at the south end of the 
barroom about 1956 (fig. 22). It was replaced about 1969 by a larger, 



12. Ibid.; see also figures 23, 26, 33, 36. Only the last stools are 
now in the concessioner's collection. 

13. Family comments on draft report. None of these chairs appears to 
have survived, but four of the chair legs, with their distinctive trifid 
feet, seem to have been used for the pantry stool on which the bread 
crock sat (Kettle Falls Hotel collection). 

14. Charlie Williams, family interview, 1987; Mike and Chuck Williams, 
interview, 1978, p. 11-12. 

15. Mike and Chuck Williams, interview, 1978, p. 12; Norman Selsaas, 
interview, 1978, pp. 3, 11; figures 20, 31, 38. The nickelodeon, re- 
cently restored and in operating condition, is in the concessioner's 
collection at Kettle Falls. 

39 



but not full-size, pool table manufactured by Irving Kaye Company, 
Brooklyn, New York (figs. 31, 34). The unevenness of the barroom floor 
made it necessary to block up the legs of the pool table rather dramat- 
ically (figs. 34, 36) . 

Visible in a 1986 photograph (fig. 38), a juke box and a video game were 
evidently introduced in the 1970s or early 1980s. There was a juke box 
in the bar as early as the mid-1960s, according to Mike Williams. 

As early as 1961, there was a Coca Cola cooler in the northeast corner 
(fig. 27). By the early 1970s, a large cooler advertising Dr. Pepper 
replaced it (fig. 34) . 

Like the lobby and dining room, the barroom was a veritable gallery of 
pictures, mounted fish and hunting trophies, posters, cartoons, printed 
slogans, and in its last years, men's caps. 

The oldest and most popular of these decorations were the pictures known 

as "the girls," six color prints of nudes, probably dating from the 

1930s or early 1940s (figs. 24, 34, 37, 38). "I grew up with them, 

they've always been there," said June Dougherty in 1978. 

They were in bad shape, cracking and flaking, and my 
dad took them down, he was going to have them framed 
and it just wasn't the same without the girls, and 
the girls were missing for a couple of years, and 
then Ken Amick had them framed and they are all in 
their places. We wash the glass on them and people 
come in and comment on them and I tell them they all 
had baths today. 17 



16. Family interview, 1987. The later pool table is in the conces- 
sioner's collection at Kettle Falls. 

17. June Dougherty, interview, 1978, p. 19. These prints are in the 
concessioner's collection at Kettle Falls. 



40 



Another trio of "girls," though less provocative, are titled respec- 
tively "Exit," "Detour," and "Dangerous Curves" (fig. 32, top). These 
were part of a set entitled "Signs of the Times" by Henry Clive, pub- 
lished in 1934. 18 



There were other, mostly now unidentifiable, prints and photographs on 
the walls, along with a mounted deer head, a set of moose antlers, a 
snow shoe, a Mexican hat, several mounted fish (dating from the 1970s), 

a large signed photograph of Jack Dempsey (1942), and at least two 

19 
paintings of the Kettle Falls barroom done by visitors. 

The back bar was a whole gallery in itself, "lined with photographs 
dating back through the years that the hotel has been in existence, and 
Charlie knows the people," reported the Mesabi Sunday News in 1972, 

"woodmen and Indians in the older pictures, friends and hotel guests in 

20 
the recent ones." It was a constantly changing exhibit as many photo- 
graphs testify (figs. 26, 29-36). 

Both a roller shade and a pair of full length flowered drapes can be 
seen on one of the windows in a 1961 photograph (fig. 28). In 1986 
there were cafe curtains on both west windows (fig. 37). 



18. Concessioner's collection, Kettle Falls. One of these prints is 
clearly visible in figure 44, to the left of the reclining nude. 

19. See figures 20-38. The fish, deer head, and one painting of the 
bar are in the concessioner's collection at Kettle Falls. 

20. "Kettle Falls Hotel to Survive," Mesabi Sunday News , August 6, 
1972. 



41 



Second Floor 

Stairs and Upstairs Hall (200, 201, 202) . The stairs to the second 
floor went up from the southeast corner of the lobby, between the main 
entrance and the dining room door. The upstairs hall ran along the 
center of the east and north wings, ending (after 1965) in a vestibule 
at the north end between the two bathrooms, where an outside stairway 
led down to the rear of the hotel. 

The hall was dimly lit with low voltage bulbs until the voltage upgrade 
in 1961. The original base bulbs were replaced about 1974 with "incan- 
descent drum fixtures with opal glass diffusers." 



Striped carpeting, similar to that in the bedrooms, was installed in the 

2 
early 1970s. Before that time the hall floors were bare. 



Bedrooms . Before 1961 there were 18 bedrooms. In that year room 15 was 
converted into a pair of toilets and in 1973 rooms 3 and 5 were com- 
bined, leaving 16 rooms, of which 15 were available for guests. 

The following evidence on the individual bedrooms is derived from an 

interview with June Dougherty in 1978. The rooms are listed by their 

3 
historic numbers with the architect-assigned numbers in parenthesis. 

No. 1 (215). A "Little room" at the east end of the hall, south side. 
It contained a single bed. 

No. 2 (214). Similar to No. 1, on the north side. 



1. HSR, p. 60. Sherry Casey Stemm remembers going down the halls at 
dusk to pull the light strings for the evening (family comments on draft 
report). 

2. HSR, p. 189 and illustration on p. 14; Mike Williams, comments on 
draft of this report. 

3. June Dougherty, interview, 1978, pp. 16-17; HSR, p. 9. 

42 



No. 3 (216). Another single-bed room, eliminated in 1973 to permit 
enlargement of No. 5. 

No. 4 (213). A larger room on the north side, with "two twin beds and 
The commode and the old dresser." 

No. 5 (217). "...my grandmother's and grandfather's room and then 
[after 1961] my parents' room. Mother needed more room for her book- 
keeping and so they took No. 3 out and made No. 5 a larger room where 
she could have a desk and file and typewriter and whatever; it's still 
crowded but it is a little larger." No. 5 was next to the stairs on the 
south side of the hall . 

No. 6 (212). A north-facing room with two twin beds. 

No. 7 (218). South side, next to the stairs, "...facing the lake, that 
is one of the favorite rooms, the people that are coming like for a week 
get that room or the ones that are there longer, or certain people 
request that room." 

No. 8 (211). A north room, "facing the back of the hotel," with two 
twin beds. 

No. 9 (219). Mrs. Dougherty did not mention this room, which may have 
been less desirable, despite its view of the lake, because of its proxi- 
mity to No. 11, the "hospitality room." 

No. 10 (210). A north room, not mentioned by Mrs. Dougherty. 

No. 11 (220). Occupying the southwest corner, this was the largest 
bedroom in the hotel, containing four twin beds, "a huge old dresser" 
and two commodes. From the 1930s to the mid-1950s, Charlie and Blanche 
Williams and their children were in No. 11. At other times it was 
rented out. 



43 



It has been called the hospitality room, the bridal 
suite, the hospital room. Everybody wants that 
room. If four men come or ten men come they want 
that. They use it to gather in, a lot of them have 
bottles in their rooms and they have a drink and 
talk over the day's fishing or the party the night 
before. Some people come to fish and some come to 
party and it's really nice when you just have fish- 
ermen one weekend.. .because the fishermen don't like 
to hear noise at night and you do hear the old 
nickelodeon and all . 



No. 12 (208). North wing, east side looking out over the back of the 

hotel . 

That was Bill, my husband's and my room for many, 
many years.. .mother always saved that for us because 
we would come in on weekends. Sometimes I would 
stay up during the week... if she needed me or I 
happened to feel like it or if some special cus- 
tomers or — they were like family really--oh, so and 
so's coming., .he's an old friend of my grand- 
mother's, you have to be here, she would say. 

"There isn't a room No. 13 because that is bad luck." 

No. 14 (207). North wing, east side. This originally had two twin 
beds, later (after 1977) a "big iron bed" moved from another room. "My 
dad got upset when they took the big iron bed out of such and such room 
and put it in [here], because Grandma Lil had it in such and such room." 

No. 15 (221-222). "There is no No. 15 because they made bathrooms, a 
ladies' and a men's bathroom with a sink and toilet and a commode." 
This change took place in 1961. 

No. 16 (206). The last room on the right in the north wing, with two 
twin beds. 

No. 17 (223). On the west side, facing toward the woods, this room had 
one of the double beds until after 1977 when it became a two-bed room. 



44 



No. 18 (224). The next room on the west side also was a double- bed room 
later changed to a twin-bed room. 

No. 19 (225). The last room on the west side, not mentioned by Mrs. 
Dougherty. 

Furnishings . The bedrooms were very simply furnished, with a 

double or two single beds (four singles in No. 11), a dresser, and a 

commode or washstand (two in No. 11), probably a chair or two, utility 

carpeting, and curtains. In place of closets, each room had a shelf and 

4 
clothes hooks. 

At the time the hotel closed in 1986, the bedrooms contained a variety 
of beds including at least two iron double beds and twin beds in brown 
metal (fig. 41), wood and brass (fig. 39), and Hollywood-style (fig. 
40). 5 

Each room contained a dresser, most with an attached mirror. Most of 
them were typical oak or mahogany veneered pieces dating back to the 
1930s and earlier (figs. 40, 41). Many had been painted white but have 
been recently stripped and naturally finished. A rustic dresser with 
mirror, made of cedar and birchbark, is attributed to a local carpenter, 
Al Fortner. Pieces of this type were used in the hotel bedrooms in the 
early days, according to Charlie Williams. Of this distinctive furni- 
ture only this dresser, a round table, and "Olaf's chair" seem to have 
survived in the concessioner's collection. 

Since there was no indoor plumbing before 1961, every bedroom was sup- 
plied with a commode, which held a white china bowl and pitcher for 



4. June Dougherty, interview, 1978, pp. 16-17; figures 39-41. 

5. Concessioner's collection, Kettle Falls. 

6. Family interview, 1987. 



45 



washing and, in the cabinet below, a slop pail. All rooms presumably 
were also equipped with chamber pots. All the surviving commodes are 
simple oak or maple pieces with wooden knobs (fig. 41). Some of them 
had been painted white at some time, but these have recently been 
stripped and naturally finished. 



Two of the original washbowl and pitcher sets (damaged) are in storage 
at Kettle Falls. They are of white semi-porcelain marked E.R.R. Co. 

An exterior photograph from about 1920 and several later ones (not 
illustrated) and figure 39 (1971) show what appear to be sheer curtains 
in the south bedroom windows. In 1942 (fig. 2) these windows also had 
striped awnings. Flowered curtains are visible in a 1986 photograph 
(fig. 41). All windows had white window shades (family comment). 

The only evidence on carpeting is a 1986 photograph (fig. 41), which 
shows wall-to-wall striped carpeting. 

The original drop-cord lights stayed in place until 1974. As described 
in 1978 "the second floor lighting is generally keyless porcelain lamp 
holders or pull chain lamp holders with bare bulb." A 1977 photograph 

(fig. 40), however, shows a drum-type fixture with glass diffuser in the 

8 
owners room. 

Bathrooms . When indoor plumbing was introduced in 1961, room No. 15 was 
converted into toilets for men and women, each with a water closet, 
lavatory, and commode. Bathing facilities had been available since 



7. June Dougherty, interview, 1978, p. 6; Kimball, "Historic Hotel"; 
figure 48. 

8. HSR, p. 60. 



46 



about 1957 in a separate building behind the hotel, later (1972) con- 
verted into a sauna. In 1964 an addition was built at the north end of 
the second floor, containing separate shower rooms for men (205) and 
women (226), and a vestibule between (203). 9 

Linen Closet (209). This was at the inside corner where the east and 
north halls meet, adjacent to Room No. 12. 10 



?Q7D HSR 'i P V 43 and illustratl 'on on p. 17; June Dougherty, interview, 
iy/o, p. i /. 

10. June Dougherty, interview, 1978, p. 16; HSR, p. 9. 



47 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



49 



Figure 1. Bartenders' picnic at Kettle Falls, 1915. The earliest 
view of the hotel, shortly after it was completed. Note the un- 
painted porch and lean-to kitchen. 



Collection of Koochiching County Historical Museum, International 
Falls, MN. 



50 



B 




Figure 2. Kettle Falls Hotel, June 1942. 

Collection of Norman Selsaas; copy negative, Voyageurs National Park, 



62 




i tw 




» * 



nmw — twwif f w 

f«i innK imm ■«■■■■ ■p^m - * il 




■ 



i»» 



Mgi 



•-* , ^ 



Figure 3. East end of porch, June 1942. 

Collection of Norman Selsaas; copy negative, Voyageurs National Park, 



Figure 4. Porch, looking west, c.1961. 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Williams; copy negative, 
Voyageurs National Park. 



54 











wmm 



Figure 5. Porch, looking west, 1986. 
Voyageurs National Park photograph. 



Figure 6. Porch, dining area at east end, 1986, 
Voyageurs National Park photograph. 



56 





' 









Elj 











L 



Figure 7. Lobby, looking south and east, c .1971 . 

Kent Kobersteen photograph, Minneapolis Tribune Picture Magazine , 
March 14, 1971. 



58 



Figure 8. Lobby, looking west, 1986, 
Voyageurs National Park photograph. 



Figure 9. Lobby, looking northwest, 1986, 
Voyageurs National Park photograph. 



60 



.3 



-TT 



ruiiHTi 
Tiiinn 
TTfflTTfl 



"J 





Figure 10. Lobby, looking northeast, 1986, 
Voyageurs National Park photograph. 



Figure 11. Lobby, looking southwest, 1986, 
Voyageurs National Park photograph. 



62 



/ 







V TICKETS 
1 .,.. 1 




I 




Figure 12. Lobby, southwest corner, 1986, 
Voyageurs National Park photograph. 



Figure 13. Dining room, looking southeast, c. 1973-77, 
Postcard, Voyageurs National Park. 



64 



s 








■ ~^c 





•*»-« 



o . iO 











\ Wk 



Figure 14. Dining room, looking northeast, 1986, 
Voyageurs National Park photograph. 



Figure 15. Lil Williams in the kitchen, 1958. 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Williams; copy negative, 
Voyageurs National Park. 



66 






I 




Figure 16. Nora Nil son in the kitchen, 1966. 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Williams; copy negative, 
Voyageurs National Park. 



Figure 17. Kitchen, southwest corner, 1973. The two girls are 
preparing to use the Faspray dishwasher. 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Williams; copy negative, 
Voyageurs National Park. 



68 



Figure 18. Li 1 and Bob Williams, early 1950s, showing enclosed 
porch, later turned into the auxiliary kitchen. 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Williams; copy negative, 
Voyageurs National Park. 



Figure 19. Blanche Williams (right) with Amy Jameson (left) and 
Ercel Martinson, a cousin, 1956, standing in front of the 
auxiliary kitchen and new laundry addition. 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Williams; copy negative, 
Voyageurs National Park. 



70 




■"■'♦ 








ftntt 





» 

At 


TT 


• 


1 

J0 


#> 


1km 





> * 





Figure 20. Barroom, northwest corner, 1942. 

Collection of Koochiching County Historical Museum, International 
Falls, MN. 



72 




• 



tf \ 






I 



I 



«--: 



Figure 21. Bob Williams behind the bar, c. 1950-56. 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Williams; copy negative, 
Voyageurs National Park. 



Figure 22. Barroom, south end, c.1956. Chuck and Mike Williams are 
playing bumper pool . 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Williams; copy negative, 
Voyageurs National Park. 



74 





V 



5 






fc^-M 




M 



* 



i 



I : 




Figure 23. Barroom, north end, 1956. Mrs. Williams identified the 
couple in the center as Margie and Myron Anderson; the other 
people are not identified. 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Williams; copy negative, 
Voyageurs National Park. 



76 



Figure 24. Barroom, looking south, c.1961, Charlie Williams tending 
bar, Fritz Vanderhaas in right foreground, other patrons not 
identified. 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Williams; copy negative, 
Voyageurs National Park. 



78 





% 



Figure 25. Barroom, northeast corner, 1961, with Dale Williams. 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Williams; copy negative, 
Voyageurs National Park. 



Figure 26. Barroom, north end of bar, 1961. The boys are Mike 
Williams (left) and Wayne George. 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Williams; copy negative, 
Voyageurs National Park. 



80 



Figure 27. Barroom, north end, 1961, with Chuck Williams (right), 
Jim Kirsila, and "Red." 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Williams; copy negative, 
Voyageurs National Park. 



Figure 28. Barroom, west side, 1961. The patrons, friends of 

Blanche and Charlie Williams, were (left to right) Speed and 

Joyce Christianson, Mabel Williams, Margie Anderson, Helen and 
Sherd Knies, and Herb Williams. 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Williams; copy negative, 
Voyageurs National Park. 



82 



Figure 29. Barroom, north end of bar, c. 1965(7), with Mike Williams. 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Williams; copy negative, 
Voyageurs National Park. 



Figure 30. Charlie and Blanche Williams, 1966, behind the bar. 

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Williams; copy negative, 
Voyageurs National Park. 



84 




', + 







ijpXT- 





5 * 




«».. 




; 










Figure 31. Barroom, looking northeast, c.1969. The oil stove was 
replaced with a ceiling-mounted gas unit heater in 1970. 

Postcard, Voyageurs National Park collection. 



86 



Figure 32. Back bar, 1971, by Kent Kobersteen, illustrating Ron 
Schara's article, "Out-of-the-way Inn," in Minneapolis Tribune 
Picture Magazine , March 14, 1971. 

Collection of Minneapolis Tribune . 



88 



Figure 33. Barroom, looking northeast, mid-1970s, after the ceiling 
fans were installed (1973). 

Postcard, Voyageurs National Park. 



Figure 34. Barroom, looking northeast, 1986, 
Voyageurs National Park photograph. 



90 



Figure 35. Barroom, looking east, 1986. 
Voyageurs National Park photograph. 



Figure 36. Barroom, looking southeast, 1986. 
Voyageurs National Park photograph. 



92 







*i«&£ 






(T 






Figure 37. Barroom, looking southwest, 1986, 
Voyageurs National Park photograph. 



Figure 38. Barroom, northwest corner, 1986, 
Voyageurs National Park photograph. 



94 










■^M 



_Ljgjii t 



'-r - 




i 



Figure 39. Unidentified bedroom, 1971: "Clean, simple room in the 
hotel stands ready for summer rush." Kent Kobersteen photo- 
graph, illustrating Ron Schara's article, "Out-of-the-way Inn," 
Minneapolis Tribune, Picture Magazine , March 14, 1971. 

Collection of Minneapolis Tribune. 



96 



Figure 40. Bedroom No. 5, 1977. Although captioned "Typical Guest 
Room," this was the room occupied by the hotel operators, Mr. 
and Mrs. Williams. 

From "Historic Structure Report," 1979. 



Figure 41. Unidentified bedroom (possibly east end of No. 11), 1986, 
Voyageurs National Park photograph. 



98 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 



MANUSCRIPTS 

Architectural Resources, Inc. Report on electrical systems. March 13, 
1978 (Draft; copy at Voyageurs National Park). 

Pearson, Mary Lou, and Frank Ackerman. "Kettle Falls Hotel: North 
Woods Rendezvous," U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park 
Service. A paper presented to the Minnesota Historical Society, 
130th Annual Meeting and History Conference, October 26-27, 1979. 

Wallace, David H., Mary Graves, and Catherine Wuvcha. "Inventory of 
Furnishings from Kettle Falls Hotel," with photographs. July 1987. 
Park files, Voyageurs National Park. 

INTERVIEWS 

Dougherty, June. Interviewed February 12, 1978. Transcript at 
Voyageurs National Park, International Falls, Minnesota. 

Selsaas, Norman. Interviewed 1978. Transcript at Voyageurs National 
Park, International Falls, Minnesota. 

Williams Family. Interviewed 1987. Transcript at Voyageurs National 
Park, International Falls, Minnesota. 

Williams Family. Comments on draft Historic Furnishings Report, trans- 
mitted to the author by Voyageurs National Park. Two page memoran- 
dum, undated [March 1988]. 

Williams, Blanche. Interviewed October 9, 1982. Transcript at Voya- 
geurs National Park, International Falls, Minnesota. 



101 



Williams, Charles R. Interviewed August 16, 1976. Transcript at Voya- 
geurs National Park, International Falls, Minnesota. 

Williams, Mike, and Chuck Williams. Interviewed February 10, 1978. 
Transcript at Voyageurs National Park, International Falls, Min- 
nesota. 



PUBLISHED ARTICLES 

"1935 Tourist Edition." The Daily Journal . International Falls, Min- 
nesota. 

"1938 Tourist Edition." The Daily Journal . International Falls, Min- 
nesota. 

Griggs, Jay. "No Roads Lead to Kettle Falls." Daily Journal , Interna- 
tional Falls, Minnesota, c.1976 (copy, Voyageurs National Park). 

"Kettle Falls Hotel to Survive." Mesabi Sunday News , August 6, 1972. 

Kimball, Jim. "Historic Hotel in Kettle Falls is Still Lively." Minne - 
apolis Tribune , January 26, 1969. 

Schara, Ron. "Out- of- the- Way Inn." Minneapolis Tribune , n.d. 

GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS 

U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. "Master Plan 
for the Proposed Voyageurs National Park." 1968. 

U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. "Voyageurs 
National Park Survey of Historical Structures," by John Hackett and 
Liza Nagle. 1975. 



102 



U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. "Interpretive 
Prospectus." June 1981. 

U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. "A Guide to the 
Printed Material in the Archives of Voyageurs National Park," by 
Mary Lou Pearson and Mary Graves. 1982. 



103 



As the nation's principal conservation agency, the Department of the 
Interior has basic responsibilities to protect and conserve our land and 
water, energy and minerals, fish and wildlife, parks and recreation 
areas, and to ensure the wise use of all these resources. The 
department also has major responsibility for American Indian reservation 
communities and for people who live in island territories under U.S. 
administration. 

Publication services were provided by the graphics staff of the Denver 
Service Center. NPS D-56 September 1988